All of us are expecting a vaccine within this year to put an end to the ongoing pandemic. Several candidate vaccines, like the mRNA vaccine, are holding on to check the safety and efficacy. Since this kind of work relies on new technology, some scientists still prefer an older type of vaccine that has already proven safe in HIV and Ebola.
A group of scientists, led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, discovered a new vaccine, developed from a common cold virus called adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26). This vector virus carries the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 into human cells to provoke the immune response. Dan H. Barouch, an immunologist, has worked for this vaccine since January after China exposed the viral genome. They have created a series of vaccine candidates designed to express different variants of the virus spike protein.
The vaccine trial
Researchers tested one of seven different single-dose vaccine candidates from the J&J Janssen unit in 32 rhesus monkeys. Then the remaining 20 animals received placebo shots. The team found that the vaccinated macaques develop neutralizing antibodies that protect them from COVID-19. Six weeks after vaccination, the animals exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The animals that received placebo shots showed a high level of damage in their lungs. And the six that got the optimal vaccine did not suffer from the virus, and only one animal showed the lower levels of virus in nasal swabs. The results of the study reported in the journal Nature.
Of the seven variations, Ad26.COV2.S provides the most effective immune response, which will help humans to protect against COVID-19. The mRNA vaccine developed from Moderna and Pfizer needs two doses of vaccine to get the expected results, but in the J&J preclinical study, the single-shot vaccine is enough to impart immunity. This is practically logistic in the global need for the vaccine. Scientists are planning to do human trials with this vaccine shortly to deliver the safety and efficacy of it. This will be investigated by Kathryn E. Stephenson and funded by Janssen Vaccines and Prevention. The vaccine is currently tested in a phase 1/2a study in 1,000 volunteers in the U.S and Belgium, and they are expecting to start the phase 3 trial in September.
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